June 21, 2008
It is not difficult to see why Kevin Rudd's Government is alarmed about young Australians' abuse of alcohol. A report published this month in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health found that the number of women aged 18 to 24 who had to go to hospital after binge drinking had more than doubled in less than a decade. About half were diagnosed with acute intoxication.
Such statistics persuaded Mr Rudd to embark on a national strategy which, among other things, included a 70 per cent rise in the tax on alcopops. Now, far less persuasively, there is a proposed new set of guidelines on what constitutes binge drinking. So severe are these that not only are they likely to be disregarded, but they also risk devaluing the whole strategy.
. . . . . . .